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CDH-CP-5/01 ENGLISH

PRESS RELEASE(*)


 

PRESS RELEASE(*)

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hold its LI RegularSession at its seat in San José, Costa Rica, from May 21 to June2, 2001. During this session, the Court will consider thefollowing matters:

1. Request for Provisional Measures in the El Periódico La Nacióncase in respect of the State of Costa Rica: At 10:00 a.m. on May22, 2001, the Court will hold a public hearing to consider theperspectives of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights andthe State of Costa Rica on the facts and circumstances thatmotivated the Commission´s April 6, 2001 request for provisionalmeasures on behalf of Mr. Mauricio Herrera Ulloa and Mr. FernánVargas Rohrmoser, journalist and legal representative,respectively, of “La Nación” Newspaper of Costa Rica.

According to the Commission, the facts that gave rise to therequest are, among others, the following: a) that the journalistMauricio Herrera Ulloa was criminally convicted for four offensesof insults of the kind of defamation, as a consequence of thearticles published by “La Nación” Newspaper whichreproduced material published in the European press, related to a“controversial” Costarican public servant appointed bythe Ministry of Foreign Affaires of Costa Rica before theInternational Organization of Atomic Energy at its seat inVienna, Austria; b) that the judgment of the Trial CriminalTribunal of the First Circuit of San José imposed variouscriminal penalties against Mr. Herrera Ulloa; also declared withmerits the civil action, sentencing Mauricio Herrera Ulloa and“La Nación” Newspaper, the latter represented by FernánVargas Rohrmoser, collectively liable for the payment of sixtymillion colones for moral damage caused by the publications ofthe “La Nación” Newspaper on May 19, 20 and 21 andDecember 13, 1995; ordered the publication of the operative partof the judgment in the “La Nación” Newspaper, in thesame section and same font type of the articles which raised theaccusation; and decided that La Nación Corporation was obligatedto remove the existent link in “La Nación Digital”between the last name Przedborski and the accused articles, andestablish a link between said articles and the operative part ofthe judgment. The judgment also sentenced the civil defendants topay the costs of court and the legal fees; c) that the executionof the condemnatory criminal judgment against the victims wasordered in a “menacing, unpostponable and final judgment”manner and was to be complied in the term of three days from theday of notification, which took place on February 27, 2001, andd) that the damage of the freedom of expression was clear andpresent, not only as to the individual freedom of Herrera Ulloaand Vargas Rohrmoser, but to the entire Costarican society.


2. Paniagua Morales et al. Case: Reparations phase. During thissession, the Court will deliberate on the possibility of passingjudgment on the reparations and costs and expenses in this Case,based on its Judgment of March 8, 1998, in which it decided,unanimously “that the State of Guatemala [was] obligated toremedy the consequences of the declared violations and to pay afair compensation to the victims and, if applicable, to theirfamily members.” In this Judgment, the Court also decidedthat Guatemala had violated the Right to Personal Liberty(Article 7 of the American Convention in relation to Article 1(1)of the same) to the detriment of: Ana Elizabeth Paniagua Morales,Julián Salomón Gómez Ayala, William Otilio González Rivera,Pablo Corado Barrientos, Manuel de Jesús González López,Augusto Angárita Ramírez, Doris Torres Gil and Marco AntonioMontes Letona; the Right to Life (Article 4(1) of the AmericanConvention) in relation to: Ana Elizabeth Paniagua Morales, JuliánSalomón Gómez Ayala, William Otilio González Rivera, PabloCorado Barrientos and Manuel de Jesús González López; Article5(1) and 5(2) of the American Convention in relation to Article1(1) of the same, and Articles 1, 6 and 8 of the Inter-AmericanConvention to Prevent and Punish Torture to the detriment of: AnaElizabeth Paniagua Morales, Julián Salomón Gómez Ayala,William Otilio González Rivera, Pablo Corado Barrientos, Manuelde Jesús González López, Augusto Angárita Ramírez and OscarVásquez; Article 8(1) of the American Convention in relation toArticle 1(1) of the same, to the detriment of: Ana ElizabethPaniagua Morales, Julián Salomón Gómez Ayala, William OtilioGonzález Rivera, Pablo Corado Barrientos, Manuel de Jesús GonzálezLópez and Erick Leonardo Chinchilla; and Article 25 of theAmerican Convention in relation to Article 1(1) of the same, tothe detriment of: Ana Elizabeth Paniagua Morales, Julián SalomónGómez Ayala, William Otilio González Rivera, Pablo CoradoBarrientos and Manuel de Jesús González López. Finally,Guatemala was requested to conduct an effective investigation toidentify those responsible for the violations. Thus, the Courtwill determine the nature and amount of the reparations to begranted to the victims or their next-of-kin, and thereimbursement of the costs and expenses they have incurred intheir representations before the authorities of Guatemala and theInter-American System for the Promotion and Protection of HumanRights.

3. Villagrán Morales et al. Case: Reparations phase. As in thePaniagua Morales et al. Case, the Court will deliberate and studythe possibility of passing Judgment on reparations and costs inthe Villagrán Morales et al. Case.

On the Judgment on the merits rendered on November 19, 1999, theCourt decided that Guatemala had violated Article 4 of theAmerican Convention, in connection with Article 1.1, in injury toAnstraum Aman Villagrán Morales; Articles 4,7, 5.1 and 5.2 ofthe Convention, in connection with Article 1.1, and Articles 1, 6and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and PunishTorture, in injury to Henry Giovanni Contreras, Federico ClementeFigueroa Túnchez, Julio Roberto Caal Sandoval and Jovito JosuéCifuentes; Article 19 of the Convention in connection withArticle 1.1, in injury to Julio Roberto Caal Sandoval, JovitoJosué Cifuentes Anstraum Amán Villagrán Morales; Articles 8.1and 25 of the Convention in connection with Article 1.1, ininjury to all the persons named above and members of theirfamilies; Article 1.1 of the Convention in reference to theobligation to conduct an investigation for the purpose ofidentifying and punishing those responsible for the human rightsviolations detailed in the judgments; Article 5.2 of theConvention in connection with Article 1.1, in injury to theparents of Henry Giovanni Contreras, Federico Clemente Figueroa Túnchez,Jovito Josué Cifuentes and Julio Roberto Caal Sandoval, Ms. AnaMaría Contreras, Ms. Matilde Reyna Morales García, Ms. RosaCarlota Sandoval, Ms. Margarita Sandoval Urbina, Ms. Marta IsabelTúnchez Palencia and Ms. Noemí Cifuentes. It also decided toopen the reparations phase. Thus, the Court will determine thenature and amount of the reparations to be granted to the victims´next-of-kin, and the reimbursement of the expenses that they haveincurred in their representations before the authorities ofGuatemala.


4. Cesti Hurtado Case: Reparations phase. As in the two previous cases, the Court will deliberate and study the possibility of passing Judgment on reparations and costs in the Cesti Hurtado Case.

On its Judgment of September 29, 1999 the Court decided unanimously that, “the State of Peru [was] obligated to pay just compensation to Mr. Gustavo Adolfo Cesti Hurtado and toreimburse the expenses that he incurred as a result of th epresent process.” The Court also decided that the proceding against Gustavo Adolfo Cesti Hurtado under the military justicewere incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights ,and as a consequence, ordered the State to annul this action andall the efects that may have derived from it.

5. Durand and Ugarte Case: Reparations phase. Beginning at 10:00a.m. on May 25, 2001, the Court will hold a public hearing on thereparations of this case. The Court will hear the allegations ofthe relatives of the victims, the Inter-American Comission onHuman Rights and the State of Perú on compensation and expenses,given that the Court issued its judgment on August 16, 2000,deciding unanimously that, “the State [was] obligated tomake reparation for the consequences of the declared violations”.

On said Judgment, the Court determined that the State of Perúhad violated Articles 4.1, 5.2, 7.1, 7.5, 8.1 y 25.1 of theAmerican Convention to the detriment of Nolberto Durand Ugarte yGabriel Pablo Ugarte Rivera; Articles 8.1 y 25 of the Conventionto the detriment of the victims´ relatives; and Articles 1.1 y 2of the Convention in relation to the substantive rightsindicated. The Court also decided that the State was obligated tomake its best effort to locate and identify the remains of thevictims and deliver them to their relatives, as well as toinvestigate the circumstances and prosecute and punish the liableparties.


6. Las Palmeras Case: Merits phase. Beginning at 10:00 a.m. onMay 28, the Court will hold a public hearing at its seat to hearthe allegations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rightsand the State of Colombia regarding the merits of the case. TheCourt will also hear the witnesses and experts proposed by theparties.

The application in this case was submitted by the Commission onJuly 6, 1998, against the State of Colombia and refers to thealleged extrajudicial execution of Artemio Pantoja Ordóñez,Hernán Javier Cuarán Muchavisoy, Julio Milcíades Cerón Gómez,Edebraiz Cerón Rojas, William Humberto Hamilton Cerón Rojas andHernán Lizcano Janamejoy or NN/Moisés on January 23, 1991 bymembers of the National Police of Colombia and the later denialof justice in the case. The Commission requested the Court todeclare that the State violated Articles 4 of the Convention(Right to Life), in relation to Article 3 common to the 1949Geneva Conventions, to the detriment of the persons indicated;Articles 8 (Right to a Fair Trial) and 25 (Right to JudicialProtection) to the detriment of the alleged victims and itsrelatives; and Article 1.1 of the Convention (Obligation toRespect Rights) and also, as a consequence to the violation ofthe above-mentioned Articles of the Convention, the State mustestablish the circumstances of the death of the seventh victim,allegedly deceased in combat (Hernán Lizcano Janamejoy o NN/Moisés).It also requested the Court to order the State of Colombia tocarry out an effective investigation of the denounced facts andto punish the liable parties.


7. Cantos Case: Preliminary Objections phase. On May 30, 2001 at4 p.m., the Court will hold a public hearing at its seatregarding the preliminay objections raised by the State ofArgentina. Said objections, contested by the Inter-AmericanCommission on Human Rights, are based on the lack of jurisdictionof the Court to consider the instant case because the allegedfacts ocurred before the recognition of the jurisdiction of theCourt by the State of Argentina (jurisdiction ratione temporis)and because the subject of the violations is not in accordancewith the concept of victim of Article 1.2 of the Convention(jurisdiction ratione personae).

The application in this case was submitted by the Inter-AmericanCommission on Human Rights on March 10, 1999 and it claims thatthe State of Argentina violated the human rights of Mr. José MaríaCantos when the General Revenue Office of the Province ofSantiago del Estero raided the offices of companies owned by Mr.Cantos and seized documents pertaining to his commercialactivities, under suspicion of infraction of the Stamp Law.

The Commission files its application asking the Court to findthat the State of Argentina had violated Articles 8 (Right to aFair Trial), 25 (Judicial Protection) and 21 (Right to Property)of the American Convention, in relation to Article 1.1(Obligation of the State to respect the rights). It also askedthe Court to declare that Article 2 of the Convention had beenviolated, in view of the principle of pacta sunt servanda, forthe State´s alleged failure to abide by the recommendations forthe Commission (Article 50.3) included in its report No. 75/98.The Commission further claimed that Argentina had violated therights set forth in Articles XVIII (Right to Justice) and XXIV(Right to petition) of the American Declaration of the Rights andDuties of Man. It also asked that the State be required tocompensate Mr. Cantos fully, in accordance with Article 63.1 ofthe Convention, and to pay court costs and expenses.

8. Other Matters: The Court will consider several pending issuesand will analyze various reports presented by the Inter-AmericanCommission on Human Rights and by States involved in cases whereprovisional measures have been adopted. Furthermore, the Tribunalwill study the reports submitted by the Inter-AmericanCommission, involved States, and victims or their representativesregarding cases currently in the compliance phase. Finally, theCourt will consider various administrative matters.

On June 2, 2001, the Court will hold, at its seat, a work sessionwith representatives of the European Court of Human Rights.

The composition of the Court during this Regular Session is thefollowing: Antônio A. Cançado Trindade (Brazil), President;Hernán Salgado-Pesantes (Ecuador); Oliver Jackman (Barbados);Alirio Abreu-Burelli (Venezuela); Sergio García-Ramírez(Mexico) and Carlos Vicente de Roux-Rengifo (Colombia). In thePaniagua Morales case, Edgar Larraondo-Salguero will participateas Judge ad hoc, designated by Guatemala. In the case of Durandand Ugarte, Fernando Vidal Ramírez will participate as Judge adhoc, appointed by Peru. In the Cantos case, Julio A.. Barberis,will participate as Judge ad hoc, designated by ARgentina. TheSecretary of the Court is Manuel E. Ventura-Robles and the DeputySecretary is Renzo Pomi.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, established in 1979, isan autonomous judicial institution of the Organization ofAmerican States. It is composed of jurists of the highest moralstanding and competence in the area of Human Rights. The Judgesare elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assemblyand cannot exercise their functions for more than two six-yearterms.

 


(*)The contents of this release are theresponsibility of the Secretariat of the Inter-American Court ofHuman Rights. The official text of the documents may be obtainedby submitting a written request to the Secretariat at the addressprovided at the end of this document.

 

 

 



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